“Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills, and ev'rywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.”
This well known Christmas song’s chorus echoes one of the primary directives of the Christian faith, that of proclamation or testimony. As followers of Jesus we are called to share the good news of Christ; of his birth, life, death, and resurrection, and to share the impact Christ has had and continues to have on our lives.
The practice of giving testimony has taken different forms throughout the centuries and has molded itself to the time, place, and culture in which Christians find themselves. Paul gave testimonies, both in person and in his epistles to churches and people around the Mediterranean. St Augustine gave his testimony in writing his Confessions, an autobiographical work. Testimony has been heard in sermons, songs, and prayers from various Christians throughout history. The well known hymn “It is Well with My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford following the traumatic death of his four daughters at sea. In the lyrics Spafford gives a testimony to his faith in God in the midst of loss and hardship.
Testimony takes two forms; seen in our own tradition under the same name, confession. One is a testimony to God of the ways in which we have not lived up to God’s law and hopes for our lives. We participate in this form of testimony every week as we pray together the prayer of confession. The other is a testimony to one another and all who will hear of God’s grace and saving acts in Jesus Christ. This form appears in the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church, which contains writings from across the ages testifying to God’s providence and grace. We use the Confessions primarily as affirmations of faith in worship when we celebrate the sacraments.
In the past 100 plus years many new technologies have developed that allow people to give their faithful testimony; from radio and TV to the many forms of social media, podcasting, and YouTube videos that exist. Groups of people have given testimony not only in worship spaces, but also in protests and marches, like MLK’s March on Washington. The ability to testify to our faith in God is a plentiful multitude ready for service in God’s kingdom.
The question is how will you testify to the grace found in Jesus Christ? How will you spread the news of God’s saving love this holiday season? Will you talk to your friends and neighbors? Will you write a letter to someone or create a Facebook post? Maybe make a TikTok? There are many ways we can give our testimony, the important part is that we do.
So, will you ‘Go tell it on the mountain’?
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 1Cor. 1:4-6